A wide range of adverse effects is associated with the use or abuse of anabolic steroids. These effects depend on several factors including: age, sex, the anabolic steroid used, amount used, and duration of use.
In adolescents, anabolic steroid use can stunt the ultimate height that an individual achieves.
In boys, steroid use can cause early sexual development, acne, and stunted growth.
In adolescent girls and women, anabolic steroid use can induce permanent physical changes, such as deepening of the voice, increased facial and body hair growth, menstrual irregularities, male pattern baldness, and lengthening of the clitoris.
In men, anabolic steroid use can cause shrinkage of the testicles, reduced sperm count, enlargement of the male breast tissue, sterility, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
In both men and women, anabolic steroid use can cause high cholesterol levels, which may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Anabolic steroid use can also cause acne and fluid retention. Oral preparations of anabolic steroids, in particular, can damage the liver.
Abusers who inject steroids run the risk of contracting various infections due to non-sterile injection techniques, sharing of contaminated needles, and the use of steroid preparations manufactured in non-sterile environments. All these factors put users at risk for contracting viral infections such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or C, and bacterial infections at the sight of injection.
Abusers may also develop endocarditis, a bacterial infection that causes a potentially fatal inflammation of the heart lining.